Australian Funnel web spiders (atrax robustus)

Australian Funnel web spiders (atrax robustus)

Postby Jandejager » Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:59 am

Hey guys,

has any-one have any info on them? (keeping them in SA)

I've seen a documentry on these a while ago, & they seem verry interesting...
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Postby Snakes Incorporated » Tue Dec 13, 2005 1:13 pm

About Funnel web Spiders

There are several species of funnel web spider found throughout Australia. The best known of these is the Sydney funnel web spider, Atrax robustus. The male of this species is Australia's most dangerous spider, and is capable of causing death in as little as 15 minutes. It is found only within a 160 km radius of Sydney, although related species have been described all along the east coast of Australia, and one of these, the northern or tree-dwelling funnel web spider (Hadronyche fomidabilis), has been shown to be dangerous to man. The Sydney funnel web is a large, black aggressive spider with large powerful fangs. It lives in burrows or crevices in rocks or around house foundations, lining the burrows with silk. Colonies of more than 100 spiders may be found. The male spiders in particular tend to wander into houses in the summer, especially in wet weather. It is unusual amongst spiders in that the male appears to be more dangerous than the female. It is also of note that the venom appears to particularly affect primates, whereas other mammals are relatively resistant.

Several other funnel web spiders species have been described throughout Australia, including the northern or tree-dwelling funnel web (Hadronyche formidabilis), found in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland, as well as species found in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. There is little information on the toxicity of most of these spiders' venoms, and the danger they may pose to man.

Funnel web Spider bite in Australia
Prior to the introduction of Sydney funnel web antivenom in 1980, there had been 13 known fatalities associated with bites from this spider. Since the antivenom has been in use, no deaths have been recorded, and time spent by bite victims in hospital has been greatly reduced. Most bites occur in the warmer months, and are predominantly sustained on the extremities. The pressure immobilisation method of first aid should be employed for bites by any large black spider in the Sydney area, since the illness caused by funnel web bites may be rapidly progressive and death may ensue within minutes to hours. Children are especially at risk, due to their lower body weight and the potential for multiple bites to occur if the spiders are handled.
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Symptoms and Signs of Envenomation by Atrax robustus
In most cases of bites by this spider, little venom is injected and no symptoms develop. None the less, first aid should be promptly applied and medical attention sought without delay. If envenomation has occurred, the bite site may be extremely painful, although tissue necrosis is not seen. There is some evidence that prolonged immobilisation of venom in the tissues may lead to inactivation. Systemic symptoms can develop within minutes if effective first aid is not employed. They are due to the effect of atraxotoxin’s direct effect on nerves leading to the widespread release of neurotransmitter from somatic and autonomic nerves.
Symptoms and signs of envenomation include:

Numbness around the mouth and spasms of the tongue

Nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, acute gastric dilatation

Profuse sweating, salivation, lacrimation, piloerection

Local and generalized muscle fasciculation and spasm, commencing in facial tongue or intercostal muscles, and including trismus, which may necessitate paralysing the patient with muscle relaxants in order to manage the airway

Dyspnoea

Confusion, irrationality, coma which may persist in the presence of normalized ventilation, oxygenation and blood pressure, and may be related to raised intracranial pressure

Hypertension, vasoconstriction, tachycardia and cardiac arryhthmias ? related to release and subsequent depletion of neurotransmitter

Widely dilated pupils, which may be fixed

Acute non-cardiogenic pulmonary oedema

Later, the severely envenomed patient may develop progressive hypotension and apnoea. These features may relate to depletion of neurotransmitter.
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Postby Rabies » Tue Dec 13, 2005 6:41 pm

Basicly, if enough venom is injected and antivenom is not available you drown in your own plasma filled lungs. I love the medical side of this hobby :twisted:

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Postby phobos » Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:55 am

I'm going to be in Sydney in February. I hope to catch a few to at least photograph. I hope one does not catch me :shock:

I love how these toxins make a real mess out of us...very cool! These venoms are the going to be the next wave of very valuable theraputic agents to treat disease.

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Postby froot » Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:34 am

The weirdest thing is that dogs (not sure what other animals) are immune to their venom.
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Postby piscivorous » Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:02 am

Its not really an immunity. The proteins etc. in the venom don't react to the receptors in the dog, but do so successfully in primates.
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Postby froot » Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:08 am

Aaah thanks, thought there was a twist. Me been watching too much animal planet ;)
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Postby piscivorous » Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:01 pm

Its fascinating how venom works though. The Sydney funnelweb male being the perfect example.
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Postby Jandejager » Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:56 am

Thanx yall,

how ever, are they available around SA?

I only recently started with spiders, so I only know a few ppl regarding retail & info! even my two I've got, was a helluva mission to get- not to think of the ones I still want to get! (pink goliath/goliath & redknee & asian chevron) & just about any Tarantula!

But sure, what do you know on the life expectancy of Robustus?

Sumthing I also would like to know, how agressive would a goliath be if I raise it from spiderling? I heard they can be like pittbulls! now what will be the chance if I handle it as a spiderling-I mean it should get used to being handled-I hope!
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Postby piscivorous » Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:47 am

To get hold of any Australian animal is very difficult. They passed restrictive laws regarding exportation of their animals in the 50's or 60's. So I don't think anyone has them(Sydney funnels). I may be wrong though.
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Postby snake-5 » Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:47 am

hmm after reading that i would seriously doubt that thats a beginner spider, rauther wait a while as accidents do happen and if bitten people may start asking questions where u got the spider and id bet a high stake there is no av in sa which would put u between a rock and a very hard place.Just my 2c worth.
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Postby phobos » Mon Feb 20, 2006 8:10 pm

Caught this little nasty when in the Sydney area last Saturday. Not my best photo I've taken but it was dark, in the middle of the road, close to an animal I had no experience with.....He is now a resident of the Australian Reptile Park where his venom will be used in A/V production.

Cheers!

Al

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Postby Bushviper » Mon Feb 20, 2006 9:23 pm

That looks like one unhappy spider.

Just glad you did not get nailed by him.

Are they rare to find or do the Reptile Park keep hordes of them?
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Funnel Web

Postby phobos » Tue Feb 21, 2006 12:33 am

Yeah....did not take much to get him to do that. You can't see it but there're drops of venom coming out too.

They rely on the public to catch & donate them to the institute. I have no clue how many they have but it's a fair number I guess.

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Postby Bushbaby » Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:15 am

That looks really scarey!!! I wouldn't want to get a bite from it.
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